Shanghai Separating COVID-19-Positive Kids from Their Parents in Latest Move to Combat the Virus


While most parents in Singapore can’t even stand the thought of being away from their children for more than half a day, some parents over in Shanghai have been forced to leave their children at quarantine centres amidst the newest outbreak of COVID-19 cases in China.

And it’s when their children are down with COVID-19 as well.

Parents, including Ms Esther Zhao, are currently facing both despair and immense worry as authorities forcefully remove COVID-19 positive children from their parents’ care and send them to isolation facilities solely meant for children.

In Ms Zhao’s experience, she brought her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to a Shanghai hospital after she developed a fever on 26 March, which she thought was the “right decision”.

However, three days later, both she and her daughter tested positive for COVID-19, and that was when doctors told her that they would have to take her young daughter away to a quarantine facility.

Zhao ended up begging health authorities to not separate her daughter from her, and told them that her daughter was too young to be taken to the quarantine centre alone.

In response to Zhao’s pleas, doctors threatened Zhao by telling her that if she did not agree to the measures in place, they would keep her daughter in the hospital alone while Zhao would be sent to the centre instead.

Zhao’s daughter was eventually transferred to the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center in the city’s Jinshan district, and ever since then, her mother has been worried sick.

Although both Zhao and her husband have been constantly asking the medical staff at the facility for updates regarding their child, they have only received one brief message stating that their daughter was “fine”. This message was sent through a group chat with doctors inside.

Zhao’s husband is currently going through quarantine as well at a different place since he has tested positive for COVID-19 as well.

“There have been no photos at all… I’m so anxious, I have no idea what situation my daughter is in,” a crying Zhao mentioned on Saturday (2 April).

Currently, Zhao is still at the hospital that she visited last week after testing positive.

“The doctor said Shanghai rules is that children must be sent to designated points, adults to quarantine centres and you’re not allowed to accompany the children,” she recalled.

And as if this wasn’t enough to worry about, something else that surfaced on Chinese social media lately has sent Zhao into an even greater spiral.

An anonymous account on Chinese social media site Weibo posted photos of children crying at a Shanghai health facility and wrote that the children pictured were those who had contracted COVID-19 and been separated from their parents at the Jinshan centre.

Children Treated Poorly At Health Facilities

By yesterday (2 April), the original post on Weibo had been deleted.


However, photos and videos of children being stuck in the COVID-19 health facilities had already spread like wildfire through Chinese social media sites such as Weibo and Douyin since then.

In some clips, it can be seen that medical personnel have put three babies in every cot, and most of the time, the babies are wailing loudly.

Based on the posts in a quarantine hospital WeChat group that was shared with Reuters, there are babies as young as three months old who have been taken to the facilities, separating them completely from their mothers who are still breastfeeding.

Apparently, toddlers haven’t had it much better in the facility either. In another video, a toddler was seen crawling out of a room that had four child-sized beds pushed against the wall.

According to Reuters, a source familiar with the Jinshan facility verified that those pictures and videos were taken at the Jinshan facility.


And although the videos do feature a few adults from time to time, it is evident that there are many more children than these adults can handle.

One post brought up how there were eight children placed in one room without an adult watching over them at all.

A source familiar with the current situation also told Reuters that over 20 kindergarten children from a Shanghai kindergarten were brought to a quarantine centre without their parents. These children are currently between the ages of five and six.

Netizens’ Response

Needless to say, many netizens who saw the posts, photos and videos were clearly upset with the way the children were handled and taken care of.

Many have expressed their sympathy and shock at the current situation, while others have also questioned why such a scheme was put into place.

“This is horrific,” one netizen commented.


Another comment read, “How could the government come up with such a plan?”

The Facility’s Response

However, in response to the now-viral photos and videos, the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre has claimed that they were not taken at a “Jinshan infant quarantine facility”.

Instead, the centre said that these clips were from when the hospital moved its paediatric ward to another building, and that the move was carried out so that medical staff would be able to better cope with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in paediatric patients.

The Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre also mentioned on their official WeChat account on Saturday (2 April) that they did so in order to “improve the hospital environment”.

It also noted that it had started organising for a greater number of pediatric workers, and would increase the efficiency of communication with the children’s parents.


“Paediatric patients admitted to our hospital… are guaranteed medical treatment and their daily needs taken care of,” it assured.

Last week, a Shanghai health official also announced that the hospitals that were treating children who had been infected with COVID-19 were maintaining contact with the children’s parents online.

Current State of COVID-19 Facilities for Children

Later that day, the Shanghai rumour buster WeChat account, which is backed by China’s cyberspace watchdog, posted four photos that apparently captured the current and improved state of the children’s facility at the Jinshan centre.

One of the photos featured young children who were either sitting in or standing around beds that were arranged neatly in two rows. However, there were no adults present in that particular photo.

Another photo featured a hazmat-suited person attending to a baby who was lying in a cot.

However, even though the living conditions of the centres seem like a vast improvement from the previous scenes, many still noticed that out of all the photos, only a maximum of one adult has been seen in each photo.

China’s Current COVID-19 Situation

Currently, the latest COVID-19 outbreak in China has lasted for around a month or so.

In an attempt to improve the current situation, local authorities conducted a lockdown for some 26 million residents on Monday (28 March) as part of its two-stage process to completely eliminate COVID-19.


On Thursday (31 March), Shanghai reported 4,144 locally transmitted asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and 358 symptomatic ones.

It was then reported yesterday (2 April) that on Friday, there was an increase in asymptomatic cases, but a slight dip in symptomatic cases. 6,051 locally transmitted asymptomatic Covid-19 cases and 260 symptomatic cases were recorded on 1 April.

As for the rest of mainland China, the number of COVID-19 cases increased slightly from 1,827 to 2,219 cases from 31 March to 1 April.

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Although the number of COVID-19 cases in Shanghai is considered rather low as compared to other countries around the world, Chinese authorities previously vowed that the country will be trying their best to achieve “dynamic clearance”.

This means that China is aiming to completely eradicate the virus by testing for, tracing and centrally quarantining all positive cases, instead of learning to “live with the virus” like most other countries are trying to do.

However, foreign consulates from the United States, France and Italy have forewarned their citizens who are currently living in Shanghai that they may end up experiencing family separation since the Chinese government has implemented various measures in an attempt to curb COVID-19.

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Featured Image: Douyin + Weibo